Yes thats right, it’s that time once again, Third Thursday is here!
This week we have our good friend Terry Fouche coming to teach us and lead us in intercessory prayer and worship. Terry is pastor of Mercy Town in Highland Park. He is an incredible man who loves Jesus, and others like crazy. He gives incredible hugs, and God has given him an amazing heart to shepherd and care for the flock. We are thrilled that he will be joining us and we hope that you can join us too!
As we prepare for Third Thursday this week, I want us to take a page out of Jesus’ playbook and slow down a bit. Jesus himself was a pretty busy guy with a pretty busy schedule. He was concerned about dying for the sins of the world, redeeming us and bringing us back into right relationship with the Father. He had places to go, people to heal, sermons to give, disciples to develop (all without a car or the internet).
But interestingly, we see Jesus regularly, throughout his life, taking time to stop, and be alone with the Father. There were a number of things about Jesus’ life that seemed like they were on the way sort of things: water to wine (John 2) the woman at the well (John 4), Zacchaeus (Luke 19 ). However, his times alone with the Father seemed very intentional and sometimes pretty inconvenient. Here are a few examples:
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35 ESV)
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:15-16 ESV)
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God (Luke 6:12 ESV)
And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:41-42 ESV)
And John 17 Jesus’ high Priestly Prayer where Jesus intercedes on behalf of the disciples and all who would believe.
I don’t know about you, but I confess a lot of my prayer life tends to be an if-I-can-squeeze-it-into-my-schedule sort a prayer life. Life is busy and I may not have 4 hours a day to pray, but that doesn’t mean my prayer life has to be limited to praying at red lights. Jesus sets an example for us that is extremely important: a regular practice of stepping out or away from the busyness of life to intentionally engage with the Father.
When Jesus did this, there were times he was going to the Father because he was asking for strength, direction, intercession, all of it however was intentional time with the Father. Prayer after all is dialogue with the creator of the universe, a place where we go to ask the Father for help, where we tell him what’s on our heart, where we intercede on the behalf of others, ask him to save, and where we listen and ask him to share what’s on his heart.
So as we look toward Third Thursday I want to challenge us to set aside an hour to be with the Father. Below is a guide to help shape your time.
What you need:
- Bible, a notebook and a pen.
- Designated space where you can be alone and uninterrupted. (this is especially hard for parents with young kids, I know I have 3 under 6, but you can do it!)
HERE IS A BRIEF GUIDE TO HELP SHAPE YOUR TIME ALONE WITH THE LORD.
- Start by letting the Lord know that you are here to be with him during this time, to talk to him, learn from him and just be with him. (Romans 12:1)
- Thank Him for who he is, what he’s done, and what he’s doing. (1 Thess 5:18)
- Share with him the worries and cares of your heart. Be open and honest. If you want a boring prayer life, hide from God in prayer. If you want a thriving prayer life be open, honest, and raw. This is a place for confession of wrong belief, and to turn to the truth of the gospel. (Phil 4:4-7, 1 John 1:9)
- Ask God what’s on his heart, ask him if there is anything he wants to show you or do through you today. Ask him if there is something he wants to do at Third Thursday. Take time to listen (this generally is the hardest and most distracting thing for us to do).
- Open up your Bible and turn to John 17. See how Jesus intercedes for the disciples and those who would believe in him through the disciples.
- Ask God to bring to mind 3 people who need prayer for something- job, healing, salvation, encouragement etc. Take an extended time praying for them by name that God would do whats needed in their life. This is a huge part of intercessory prayer, praying for the benefit of someone else. (write down what you are praying for them, and commit to regularly praying for them.)
- Thank God for the time and ask him to help make this a rhythm of life for you.
- Make sure to journal through this time and be willing to share with someone else in your life what God did during this time.
See you at Third Thursday and I pray this is a sweet time between you and the Lord.
Third Thursday is one day, specifically set apart each month, to slow down from our daily routine to seek God more intentionally. This posture of prayer, fasting, and worship is something that we want to grow in as a church, as a family. Together, we strive to set aside our busy-ness and passionately seek Him for our lives, our church, our friends, families and our communities.